Don’t Argue Over A Windfall

When a gift falls out of the blue into your lap, don’t get greedy. When someone offers you something you aren’t entitled to at all, you don’t demand even more. It’s bad form and you might wind up losing even what you were never entitled to in the first place.

Like these folks. They found money. A lot of it. And then they couldn’t agree on how to split it. Now, they’re worse off than before.

Here’s the exercise. Let’s say you’re sitting in the aisle seat of an airplane. The guy in the middle seat says to the guy in the window seat, “I’ll give you $100, but only if the person sitting in the aisle seat agrees with you about how to split the money.” Then, the guy in the window seat says to you, “I’ll give you $10 of the $100.” You may have an instinctual response to say, “Hell, no! We split it, 50-50.” But the rational thing to do is to agree. If you and the window seat guy can’t work it out, neither of you get anything.

Amazingly, it turns out that litigation is not always the optimal answer to monetary disputes. Shh. Don’t tell my clients.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.

One Comment

  1. I’ve got to say that I don’t think this is the sort of case where they should have had an equal claim to it.A 10% finders fee would have been very generous. That box was Reece’s, and she owned it. If a plumber were to come into my house and “find” something I already owned, I might not even tip him.

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